I’m down in the big smoke next week for a couple of days (Monday til Wednesday) with my lad who is fourteen.
Apart from taking him for breakfast with bubble in the Regency in Pimlico and the Star Wars fan art exhibition, I haven’t really got anything planned as yet.
Can any of you metropolitan elite types recommend anything? He is into football, food and music, especially hip hop.
Thanks in advance, yours sincerely a country bumpkin.
I remember my dad taking me up to London at that age. I suspect times have changed - a lot! There was no hiphop then. We went to see 2001 in a big theatre in Leicester Square. Afterwards we stood outside in a crowd watching some premiere or something going on. Some perv was behind me and started rubbing his his foot up and down my shin. I politely moved away a couple of times. The third time, I trod hard down on his foot. He then struck me across the back of my neck. My father was not pleased. I must admit that I wish my dad had just belted him, but it was only a verbal encounter. The perv was hurried away by a couple of old women.
A year or so later, I was allowed up to London on my own and given an “all-you-can-ride” pass for London Transport. Mostly, this meant going to museums and big old buildings, although I also investigated Carnaby Street. I bought a lovely pair of what I thought were very hip black and white hipsters and a psychedelic kipper tie. Still have the tie! In due course, some of Soho’s other attractions, the kind you couldn’t find in the provinces involving very briefly naked ladies, were irresistible - but ultimately boring. That was the only time I have ever been to a strip club. My voice hadn’t even broken! How did I get in? I lied in a squeaky voice.
Eventually, I was a slightly older teenager and I entered the music business. Sort of. By then I could stay in London with friends. I’d go down to the little clubs and discotheques around Picadilly Circus and get a stack of their cards, then hand them out to tourists. Supposedly, if enough cards were shown at the door later, I’d get some cash. Either I gave the cards to the wrong people, most likely, or the game was rigged ‘cos no one ever showed up at the door ‘cept me. However, at least they would then let me in for free and I could buy an expensive drink and look at girls who had absolutely no interest in dancing with me.
I realise none of this is not going to help you show your lad around London these days. I just hope he gets some fine memories of his own.
My kids are younger but when they are teenagers I fancy taking them to this in Tottenham:
I used to have lunch in the Regency Cafe when I worked in the area but didn’t realise it was a destination. Nice place.
Timeout is pretty good for ideas - 101 best things to do in London with kids
All the big football stadiums do tours so that could be a shout if there’s no games on. At Spurs you can do a skywalk thing on the roof that my nephews loved.
Usually some stuff going on around Southbank, so a walk around there combined with a trip Borough Market for lunch is good, can pop into the Tate etc. too
Can definitely recommend places to eat, where are you staying?
take him to watch something at the IMAX.
might not be his or your thing but could be nice and something different
Devon Turnbull: HiFi Listening Room Dream No. 1 and other works (lissongallery.com)
Wembley stadium tour might also be interesting (if he’s English).
Check out Toca at the o2. It’s like indoor golf but for football. Plus it’s a restaurant (can’t vouch for quality of the food though).
A bit obvious but Camden Market can be a buzz when you’re a teenager, loads of good food stalls too.
South Bank always a good shout, skaters on the loose, sometimes free stuff on at Royal Festival Hall.
Repeating really, but Camden market - deffo a thing for a teenager… Loads of street food options on the lock. Killer pasta in a Parmesan wheel.
South Bank good, buzzy but less ’vibey’ than Camden… closer to tate etc
Lots of chain restaurants and queues to get in them.
Carnaby st and soho is still worth a punt
I think Berwick street is good for food at lunchtime
If you fancy something more cerebral then south Ken is worth a trip for ‘the museums’… science museum and V&A my choices for a teenager
I’ll keep rhinking
Football: Palace are playing Arsenal at selhurst, if you can still get tickets. One of the best grounds in the country. Or stadium tours.
Food: There’s so many good resturaunts - https://london.eater.com/ - put in your location here and see what’s good. If you really want to impress, Planque, Cafe Cecilia, Cadet - probably the three best restaurants in london. Pricey though. And the Veggie menus aren’t amazing.
Like everyone here said, Camden market is great for teens. The big museums are great too. There’s loads of stuff to do, but it really depends on what type of person your kid is like.
With London, the trick is to treat it as 4 or 5 different cities. East, North, Central, etc. etc. You don’t need to get the tube everywhere, most places in central you can walk through. China town is good for food too, and Oxford Circus is a pointless shit hole, avoid it.
Thanks for all the tips, much appreciated.
Camden market is definitely on the list. My boy has been on about it for weeks. Don’t know where I’m going to get the energy for sight seeing with all the calorie laden food he wants to eat.
We are staying in Hackney so plenty to eat round there too I’m sure.
With regards to food @eatingwithtod on IG is worth a look.
The lad travels around London & visits some amazing street food places.
Definitely great Turkish and Vietnamese food around Hackney. And lots others I’m sure.
Turkish and Vietnamese are very much relevant to our interests.
Any ones in particular you’d recommend?
There’s Green Papaya on Mare Street and there always used to be another couple of Vietnamese restaurants next to it, or across the road, I’m not sure which is best as I don’t go out so often there now.
On the same road you will also walk past a couple of Turkish restaurants, they are all good as far as I remember, but my kids are now 9 and 6 so I don’t go there often any longer. They’ve just discovered KFC so I sometimes have to get them that and I buy something nice elsewhere to take away and i eat while I walk.
Umat 2000 or Mangal 2 in Dalston are our go to Turkish places. No shortage of choice though on Kingsland Road/Stoke Newington Road.
Mangal for Turkish. I’ve only ever been to Mangal 1 but 2 is also meant to be good.
Song Que/Tre Viet/Green Papaya for Vietnamese.
If you’re down near Shoreditch and like Smokey/bbq stuff, Smokestack is great. There’s also a new place in Hackney called Acme Fire Cult that I’ve heard is really good.
A walk around Brick Lane is always good too, the Bagel shop (white one) is a classic for a cheap lunch.
Not sure if you’ve made your trip yet, but if not then I had a great time with my 14 year old playing crazy golf on Saturday at Junkyard Golf in Camden. There are loads of similar places now across the city and a good laugh to do with a teenager.
Thanks for all the great tips. We had a great time. Fuck me London is knackering.
My son had the best meal of his life (according to him, my Thai fried rice is up there surely) in Smoking Goat.
We sat at the bar next to the kitchen and the head chef kept giving us dishes on the house as my lad was wolfing down everything in front of him.
Went round the Tate Modern and my mam’s cousins Reverspective show in the west end. Also had a few pints and tacos with @BlueNiall.
Queued for 15 minutes to get into the Stussy shop then went round the corner to a street wear vintage shop that was selling old stussy tees for 85 notes!
Needed longer but I was fucked and skint after two days!
Reverspective? Love those pictures. So clever!
You know them then mate? No way!
First time I’d seen them in the flesh.
The gallery were a bit snooty to us (not helped by my lad wanting to use the toilet) until I mentioned I was related to Patrick.
He claims he got the idea from hiding under the stairs with my mam when they were kids and looking at the stairs in reverse.